James Cameron says the OceanGate submersible rescue morphed into a 'crazy' operation when 'we all knew they were dead'

James Cameron says the OceanGate submersible rescue morphed into a 'crazy' operation when 'we all knew they were dead'
  • James Cameron has said the rescue operation for the OceanGate submersible victims became "crazy."

  • "We all knew they were dead," Cameron told "60 Minutes Australia" in an interview that aired on Sunday.

  • The Titanic expert added that the rescue then turned into a "beautiful media circus."

A year on from the OceanGate implosion, the filmmaker and Titanic expert James Cameron has said the rescue operation was "crazy" — because people involved in the rescue already knew the victims were all dead.

In an interview with "60 Minutes Australia" released on Sunday, Cameron commented on the sprawling four-day rescue operation that followed the submersible's disappearance on June 18.

"We all knew they were dead. We'd already hoisted a glass, a toast to our fallen comrades, on Monday night," he said in the interview.

He added that he thought the Coast Guard followed a rescue procedure that was "unnecessarily torturous" for the families because the authorities had already been informed of an "implosion event" near the Titanic wreck site.

Cameron said he'd received news of the implosion from a naval source on Monday morning and had written it down on a stationary pad in his hotel.

"I literally wrote that on the pad the moment I heard from my naval source, a very reliable source, that they had heard an event and triangulated it to the site," Cameron said.

The note he showed to the interviewer read: "9:25 confirmed implosion."

But Cameron said the catastrophe made for a "beautiful media circus."

"It just transformed into this crazy thing," he added. "Everybody running around with their hair on fire, when we knew right where the sub was. Nobody could admit that they didn't have the means to go down and look. So they were running all over the surface, and the entire world waiting with bated breath."

The US Coast Guard and OceanGate announced on June 22 that debris found on the sea bed confirmed that the submersible had imploded and that the five men on board were dead.

The victims were the British billionaire Hamish Harding, the British-Pakistani multimillionaire Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman, the former French navy diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.

The titanium and carbon-fiber submersible set off on June 18 to explore the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, nearly 13,000 feet underwater. It went off the radar less than two hours after the dive started.

Cameron, who has visited the Titanic wreck 33 times, has vocally criticized OceanGate, the company behind the ill-fated submersible.

He said that he'd warned company officials that the Titan vessel could lead to "catastrophic failure" and that it was "only a matter of time" before something would go wrong.

He also said the company lacked "rigor and discipline" and that new regulation was needed in deep-sea exploration.

Cameron's representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular working hours.

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